Golden Boy Promotions today officially announced a fight that seemingly has been years in the making, as two of Planet Brooklyn's favorite former champions, southpaw Zab Judah (42-8, 29 KO’s) and Paulie Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO’s), will battle for borough supremacy in a 12-round welterweight bout on December 7 at the Barclays Center.
The fight is based on a simple concept that most anyone can understand -- establishing who is the toughest guy in the neighborhood.
“I am happy to be back fighting in front of my hometown crowd,” said Judah, who is from Brownsville. “Paulie and I have known each other for a long time and we have a mutual respect for each other, but with this fight on December 7 it is going to be like the ancient Roman days. There has to be a leader and that position belongs to me.”
Both men are coming off decision losses to talented younger fighters. Judah, 35, recently lost to Danny Garcia in a bout in which he was hurt early, but then rallied tremendously in the championship rounds to make things interesting. Malignaggi, 32, also gave a credible showing against Adrian Broner, effectively boxing the younger fighter in the early rounds before fading at the end.
Despite those setbacks, Judah and Malignaggi still retain enough smarts, slickness, and athleticism to remain viable contenders in the division. If there is any single advantage between the two fighters, it is that Judah not only is quick like Malignaggi, but also has knockout power in his trademark counter left uppercut.
“I have always admired Zab’s skills and his resume speaks for itself,” said Malignaggi, a native of Bensonhurst. “But this is the ‘Battle of Brooklyn’ and winning this fight is worth more than any world title.”
In addition, both fighters can talk a good game as well, although the lead-up to this fight figures to be much more cordial than the sometimes nasty dialogue seen in the Malignaggi-Broner promotion.
“In a year of great fights, I have to say that this one is high on my list of the most anticipated,” said CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaefer. “Paulie and Zab are two of the slickest, fastest and most charismatic boxers in the world today and when you add in the fact that they’re fighting for Brooklyn bragging rights, it’s going to be an early holiday gift for boxing fans.”
Fortunately for boxing fans in attendance, the undercard also will be exciting. In the 12-round co-main event, Super Welterweight interim titleholder Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KO’s) will take on former champion Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KO’s).
“This is a great matchup with Austin Trout and I respect his skills in the ring,” said Lara. “He knows the art of boxing like I do, and the fans will see the sport at its highest level when we fight.”
Cuba's Lara is coming off an exciting 10th-round stoppage of Alfredo Angulo in June, while Trout is aiming to bounce back after his loss to Canelo Alvarez.
“It’s only been a few months, but I already miss being called ‘champ,’” said the 28-year-old Trout. “So I’d like to thank Lara, Golden Boy, and the WBA for this opportunity to get my belt back and I will get it back this December.”
Other Boxing News: Antonio Tarver returns to the ring
Golden Boy also announced another fight card set for November 26 in Sunrise, Florida, as former light heavyweight champion and 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KO's) will attempt to grasp one last bit of glory when he takes on veteran Mike Sheppard (21-15-1, 9 KO's) in a 10-round heavyweight bout.
This is Tarver's second late career comeback effort. His first campaign was stopped cold following his bout with Lateef Kayode when he tested positive for steroids and was suspended.
The suspension not only hurt Tarver's reputation, but also cost him a promising career as a boxing color analyst. Tarver was employed by Showtime and proved to be quite insightful on many broadcasts, but stopped working for the network after the drug test.
"I'm looking forward to getting back into the ring and showing the world that the 'Magic Man' is better than ever and ready for the big fights," said Tarver. "This is the perfect opportunity to make a statement at home and I can't wait."
By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services